Caturmukha (S): Tibetan: Shalshipa. "Four-Faced-One." The form of Mahakala related to the Guhyasamaja Tantra and a principal protector of the Sakya School. Usually depicted as Brahmarupa (Dram ze) Mahakala.
chakra (S): Tibetan: Khorlo. "Wheel." Any of the nerve plexes or centers of force and consciousness located in the energy body of man. These are junctures of force where the three primary meridians tie into the secondary network of channels. In the physical body there are corresponding nerve plexuses, ganglia and glands which are dynamically related to the condition of these chakras. As per Hinduism, there are seven principal chakras which appear psychically as colorful, multi-petalled wheels or lotuses. In the Tibetan tradition, only five chakras are recognized as they consider the lower two (muladhara and svadhisthana) as well as the upper two (ajna and sahasrara) to be fused into one chakra apiece. They are situated along the spinal cord from the base to the cranial chamber. As seats of instinctive consciousness, they are the physical origin of emotions and states of meditation, etc. The seven upper chakras, from lowest to highest, are:
1. muladhara (base of spine): memory, time and space
2. svadhishthana (below navel): reason
3. manipura (solar plexus): willpower
4. anahata (heart center): direct cognition
5. vishuddha (throat): divine love
6. ajna (third eye): divine sight
7. sahasrara (crown of head): illumination, divinity
In Tibetan Buddhism there are usually five such chakras named, located at the top of the head, the throat, the heart, the navel and the secret center. They constitute the locations where the channels juncture as that the three principal channels are found to be in contact at each of these centers. Certain meditations utilizing seed syllables aim at provoking bliss fused with emptiness (i.e. the four joys) in these centers.
Chakrasamvara (S): Tibetan: Khorlo Demchog. Principal meditation deity of the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantras. He is a heruka, a wrathful yidam of the Lotus family and an important Buddha in the six yogas of Naropa. Chakrasamvara is the primary Yidam of the Kagyu tradition that finds its origin in the meditation of the 84 Mahasiddhis of India. It passed to Tibet from the great siddha Naropa, to his disciple Marpa, to Milarepa and spread throughout the various meditative traditions of the Gelug and Sakya. A tantric form of Avalokitesvara, his body is blue in color with four faces, each looking in one of the four cardinal directions and sporting 12 arms. He is often depicted in his more simple one-faced, two-armed form. He is in union with his wisdom consort Vajravarahi (Diamond Sow). She is as simple as he is complex. She holds a skullcap in her left hand and a vajra chopper (drigung) in her right, both behind his back. Their embrace symbolizes the union of wisdom and skillful means. They symbolize the sameness in the distinctions of relative truth and the non-distinctions of absolute truth.
Chakrasamvara Tantra: Tibetan: Khorlo Dompagyu. Principal anuttarayoga tantra of the wisdom (mother) classification.
Ch'an (C): Chinese development of Indian Mahayana Buddhism; deriving from the word dhyana or meditation, the Chinese abbreviated it to ch'an-na, "meditation." This became Zen when it was imported to Japan, and in Korea, Son. The Ch'an School was established in China by Bodhidharma, the 28th Patriarch who brought a Mahayana tradition of the Buddha-mind from India. Disregarding ritual and sutras, this school professes sudden enlightenment which is beyond any mark, including speech and writing. Probably the most common form of Buddhism in the West, Zen practitioners usually devote themselves to monastic life, as accomplishment requires extensive periods of meditation. It concentrates on making clear that reality transcends words and language and is beyond rational analysis and logic. To accomplish this, this tradition makes use of the koan, zazen and sanzen. This school is said to be for those of superior roots. See Zen
Chandrakirti (S): Tibetan: Lawarepa. Sixth century Indian pandit and disciple of Nagarjuna, who presented Nagarjunas exposition of Madyamika (Middle Way) in the Prasangika-Madyamika form which is still studied in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries today. When asked about present and future lives and the workings of karma. He replied, "Watch how you breathe."
ch'an-na (C): meditation
chang (T): Beer brewed from rice, millet or corn.
Changchub Dorje (T): [1703-1732] The twelfth Karmapa.
channel: Sanskrit: nãdi. Tibetan: tsa. A constituent of the vajra body through which subtle energy winds (lung) and drops (tigle) flow. The central, right, and left are the major channels. The central channel (Sanskrit: avadhuti. Tibetan: tsa dhuma) is the most important of the thousands of channels of the subtle body. During inner-fire meditation (tummo) it is visualized as blue, running just in front of the spine, starting at the brow chakra and ending four finger-widths below the navel. Various syllables are visualized, both seated at the chakras and travelling within the channel system Such practices should only be attempted after proper transmission and teaching, after completing preliminary practices and achieving stability in generation-phase practice.
Channels, Winds, and drops: Sanskrit: Nadi,(channel) Prana, (vital energy) bindu (or essence elements) // Tibetan: rTsa, (roots/channels) rLung (winds), tig-le (drops, essence elements). Also known as winds, drops and channels. The three principal channels of the body are known in Tibetan as Roma, Uma and Kyang-ma, and in (S. Lalana, Avadhuti and Rasana). The entire body is filled with a network of canals (72,000 by tradition) in which subtle winds circulate, that is to say the energy of solar and lunar forces, emotions, and mind. There are three principal pathways, the primary meridians which run the length of the torso and culminate in the crown chakra. Like branches off the main trunk, the other channels develop from these during the time of the formation of the fetus; these dynamics are reabsorbed into the primary meridians at the time of death. One of the goals of tantric meditation is the concentration of the winds and the fluids in the central canal (Tibetan: Uma), thus provoking the experience of the fusion of bliss with emptiness, which is the natural state of the mind of the Buddhas.
charity: Transcendent generosity, the first Paramita. There are three kinds of charity in terms of goods, doctrines (Dharma) and courage (fearlessness). Out of the three, the merits and virtues of Dharma charity is the most surpassing. Charity done for no reward here and hereafter is called pure or unsullied, while the sullied charity is done for the purpose of personal benefits. In Buddhism, the merits and virtues of pure charity is considered the best. See Paramita, Dana
Chenrezi (T): Also Chenresig, Chenrezig; and Avalokitesvara (Sanskrit). The Buddha or Bodhisattva of Compassion. The embodiment of the infinite compassion of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is recognized as the human incarnation of Chenresig. See Avalokitesvara
chi (Chinese, "breath or energy"): Sanskrit: prana. Tibetan: lung. Subtle energy or life force. In Taoism, chi is the cosmic energy that permeates all things. Within the human body, chi is seen as the vital force closely associated with the breath. During the act of breathing, in addition to oxygenating the blood with the outer breath (wai chi), one breathes in with the inner breath (nei chi) the surrounding cosmic energy to resupply the inner chi or life force of the body. Chi, Ching and Shen are the three life energies that make up the human being. Ching is the reproductive energy, chi is the vital energy of the body, and the shen is the spirit or soul. Taoist practices seek to transform the ching to chi, and the chi into shen. See prana, lung, channel
Chinese Buddhism: Comes in ten flavors -- schools, traditions or sects. They are: 1. Kosa; 2. Satyasiddhi; 3. Madhyamika; 4. Tien Tai; 5. Hua Yen; 6. Dharmalaksana; 7. Vinaya; 8. Cha'an; 9. Esoteric; 10. Pure Land.
Chöd (T): "Cutting, Severance." The charnal ground practice in which the practitioners severs attachment to his or her corporeal form This practice originated in the eleventh century with the Indian adept, Padampa Sangye, and his heart student, the Tibetan woman Macig Labdron. a great Tibetan yogini, c. 1100. The teaching spread widely in India and is now practiced, to a greater or lesser degree by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Chöd practice always begins with Phowa in which the consciousness of the practitioner is visualized as leaving the body through the crown chakra and taking the form of the female deity Vajrayogini. In the form of Vajrayogini, the practitioner then visualizes the ritual purification offering of his/her own body to the Four Guests (the Three Jewels, Dakinis and Dharmapalas, beings of the six realms, and the ever present miscellaneous local spirits and demons). The ceremony can be long, involving separate offerings to each group or abbreviated; many variations exist. It is a very powerful practice when done correctly. Spirits are summoned by the blowing of the kha-ling, or
thigh-bone trumpet, and beating of the damaru (two headed drum). The complete practice of Chöd is very difficult, demanding a high degree of equanimity, compassion and renunciation.. Lineages: Shijed, or Zibyed, Zhi-je (zhi-byed-pa) "Pacifying Pain."
Chö-nyi (T): Dharmata, the Space of reality.
chorten: (T): Sanskrit: stupa. Symbolic representation of the Buddha's mind. Originally derived from cairns and burial mounds for great beings in ancient Asia, it became formalized during the Buddhas time and is now a very common monument to the sacred seen throughout the Buddhist world, chortens often have a wide, square base, rounded mid-section, and a tall conical upper section topped by a moon and sun. They usually hold relics of enlightened beings and may vary in size from small clay models to vast, multi-storied structures which contain a temple. See stupa
Chö-ying (T): Spatial dimension, universal realm of phenomena or dharmadhatu. This term signifies the unobstructed play of Wisdom Mind in the limitlessness of Wisdom Space.
chu-len (T): Literally, "taking the essence." Chu-len pills are made of essential ingredients; taking but a few each day, accomplished meditators can remain secluded in retreat for months or years without having to depend upon normal food.
citta (S): (C. Hsin) Heart and mind, the terms being synonymous in Asian religious philosophy. 1) The Conditioned (compounded) mind describes all the various phenomena in the world, made up of separate, discrete elements, "with outflows," karmically interdpendent, with no intrinsic nature of their own. Conditioned merits and virtues lead to rebirth within samsara, whereas unconditioned merits and virtues are the causes of liberation from the round of unconscious birth and death. On the personal level, citta is that in which mental impressions and experiences are recorded. 2) Seat of all conscious, subconscious and superconscious states, and of the three-fold mental faculty, (Sanskrit: antahkarana) consisting of buddhi, manas and ahamkara. Also: thought, thoughtfulness, active thoughts, mind, state of consciousness. See Unconditioned Mind; consciousness
Cittamani Tara (S): The highest yoga tantra aspect of the female deity Tara.
circumambulations: A walking meditation in which the practitioner reapeatedly circles a sacred site while practicing a sadhana or mantra meditation. One might circumambulate a monastery or a temple, a sacred lake like Pema Tso in northern India, or even a sacred mountain like Kailash, in Tibet or Turtle Hill in southern middle Tennessee. Thouands of people make an annual pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Kailasha, some of them taking several days to circumambulate the mountain once.
clarity: The unobstructed, naked radiance of awareness. There are three types: Spontaneous Clarity, the state being free from an object; Original Clarity does not appear for a temporary duration; Natural Clarity, not made, unfabricated. Along with these three experiences of clarity, Non-thought and Bliss may naturally appear, although attachment to which these is considered a hindrance counted among the "Defects of Meditation" Leading one into the three states of existences (Realm of Desire, Form, Formlessness).
clear light: Sanskrit: prachãsvara. Tibetan: od-sal. The minds intrinsic nature. The subtlest level of that which is fully revealed at the time of death but is usually not recognized unless the person has engaged in the practice of meditation and tantra. This primordial light illuminates the Universe at its deepest level. Perceiving the Clear Light is the most fundamental level of consciousness. Arriving at this level, one can view all phenomena as a manifestation of this pure energy. This clearness or luminosity is one of the two essential characteristics of the unborn, uncreated nature of the mind, with a quality of natural irradiation which projects and simultaneously knows the constantly arising energy display we call mind. The other characteristic is emptiness of anything that could be said to exist. Clariy and emptiness are indissociable in the ultimate nature of the mind.
Clear Light Meditation: One of the Six Teachings of Naropa.
cognitive base: Sanskrit: ayatana. Tibetan: kye-che. The six senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, mental consciousness) and the six objects of the senses (forms, sounds, odors, sensations, thoughts) that act as the bases for consciousness. KPSR has described the dynamic nature of the ayatanas as being like an eruption or a bursting forth. See Six Consciousnesses
compassion: Sanskrit: karuna. Tibetan: nying je. The wish that all beings be released of their physical and mental sufferings and afflictions. Preliminary to the development of non-dual bodhicitta, it is symbolized by Avalokiteshvara, who embodies the infinite compassion of a buddha. Counted among the Four Immeasurables.
completion stage: Also Perfection Phase. Sanskrit: sampanna krama. Tibetan: dzog rim. The second of the two stages of highest yoga tantra, during which, control is gained over the vajra body through such practices as inner heat (tumo) and disciplines involving the winds, drops and channels (T. tsa-lung).
concentration: Sanskrit: dhyana. Tibetan: sam tan. A state of mind without distraction. Capacity to fix and maintain one's mind on the object of meditation of its choice. Although vital to all meditative practices, it is morally neutral and not sufficiently effective by itself without the correct motivation and view as defined by bodhicitta. See Four Concentrations
conceptual thought: Tibetan: mig-pa, tog-pa. Any notion involving a subject, an object, or an action. Carelessly dwelling in these thoughts foments conceptual obscurations which prevent one from realizing one's true nature.
conditioned dharma: Refers to all phenomena and law in the world. The worldly dharma is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Dependent Origination (S. pratitya samutpada, T. Ten-drel).
Confucius: Romanized name of K'ung Fu Tse. His teachings set the social framework for Chinese society. This framework was copied by other countries in East and Southeast Asia.
conscience: The inner sense of right and wrong, sometimes called "the knowing voice of the soul." However, conscience is affected by the individual's training and belief patterns, and is therefore not necessarily a perfect reflection of dharma.
conscious mind: The external, everyday state of mundane consciousness. The sixth consciosness. See: mind.
consciousness: See Six Consciousnesses, citta.
contemplation: Sanskrit: cinta. Tibetan: sam-pa. Reflection upon what has been learned which precedes single-pointed concentration. The first of four levels through which the mind frees itself from all subjects and objective hindrances and reaches a state of singularity and spontaneous annihilation of irrelevant thought, perception, and will. Not synonomous with meditation insofar as it entertains thought.
Cunda (P): Blacksmith who gave a meal of mushrooms to the aging Buddha, causing him to become terminally ill.
cyclic existence: Sanskrit: samsãra. Tibetan: khor-wa. Lit; going round in circles. The six realms of conditioned existence. It is the beginningless, recurring cycle of death and rebirth under the control of delusion and karma and fraught with suffering. Also refers to the contaminated aggregates of a sentient being. See karma, cause and effect